Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova share a common vision of their future path - membership in the European Union, and they need the support of the EU in this, said President Volodymyr Zelenskyy during his speech at the first session of the Batumi International Conference "Three Nations - One Choice: Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine on the move".
The President noted that today the three countries are meeting for the first time as Associated Partners of the European Union at the highest level.
"We have common aspirations today, because we have common visions of tomorrow. This is full membership in the EU. Equality, freedom and democracy. Unfortunately, our countries are united not only by aspirations, but also by the price we paid for them. We know what annexation is, what occupation is, what war is,” Volodymyr Zelenskyy said.
The Ukrainian President noted that the first place from which he began his visit to Georgia was the village of Abastumani, behind which occupied Abkhazia is located. The President noted that the situation reminded him of what he sees in Ukraine when visiting areas near the temporarily occupied territories - when the delimitation line separates two worlds: light, modern and safe and gray, abandoned and disenfranchised.
"In such moments, you especially understand the importance of making the right choice for the future of the country. Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova made it. And today we have come together to make that choice a reality. The meeting in the format of the Associated Trio forms a new regional dimension for EU enlargement, which will cover our three countries. Without them, the picture of the European project will look like an unfinished puzzle, which lacks at least these three, in my opinion, important particles," Volodymyr Zelenskyy stressed.
"I am happy that President of the European Council Charles Michel shares this view and has expressed his support for the Associated Trio's initiative. The fact that you joined us today shows that you sincerely want us to join you tomorrow," the Head of State added.
The President stated: Ukraine is aware of the scope of tasks facing it. However, he noted, they do not frighten us, but motivate us. The Head of State mentioned the latest approval of laws that give a start to judicial reform as evidence and an example of this: the cleansing of the High Council of Justice and the reboot of the High Qualification Commission of Judges. He also focused on the previously adopted law on the land market, completion of decentralization, digital services, lifting parliamentary immunity, launch of the anticorruption court, reform of the Security Service, large-scale privatization and operational independence of anti-corruption bodies.
"And this is only a tenth of what has been done in the last two years, which looks much bigger than what has been done in previous years," the President said.
The reference point for Ukraine is the Association Agreement with the EU, the implementation of which will bring it closer to the membership criteria. "We already have an ambitious agenda with the European Union. The immediate goals are the start of the implementation of the Common Aviation Area Agreement, the next stage of preparation for an industrial visa-free regime and the first results of the renewal of the Association Agreement,” the President said.
Unfortunately, the ongoing Russian aggression, hybrid attacks, occupation of the sovereign territories of the three countries are aimed at significantly slowing down their path to integration. That is why the support from the EU is so important on this path, Volodymyr Zelenskyy summed up.
President of the European Council Charles Michel, for his part, stressed that Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia had faced different challenges since independence, and expressed confidence that only joint cooperation would help overcome modern challenges.
The President of the European Council also stressed the importance of governance reform.
"Our meeting with the leaders of Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova is an important milestone that underscores the close ties between the European Union and the eastern partners. We have to cherish our ties. This will help us share experience in carrying out reforms and a broader program for the future," said Charles Michel.